South Jersey Fishing: Sea Bass Season Opens Today
Save for fluke, the black sea bass is perhaps the most popular inshore gamefish along the Garden State’s inshore, and during November and December, mid-range and offshore, waters. Abundant, relatively easy (some insist too easy) to catch, and with few peers on the dinner plate, the sea bass gets huge amounts of rod and reel attention, especially during the first portion of the four segmented seasons.
This first period runs today through June 19. The daily limit is 10 fish with a minimum length of 13 inches.
Yeah, the minimum was bumped a half-inch, but that was done to satisfy a federal fisheries decision that the recreational harvest had to be cut by 20 percent. This is despite the sea bass biomass having recovered in excess of 200%. Go figure.
No matter, because the fish are on the wrecks, rocks, reefs, and rubble, and the feed bags are on!
The term “Drop ‘n reel fishing” was meant with sea bass in mind. Always hungry, this voracious and aggressive feeder will inhale just about anything that appears edible. Baits such as fresh or salted clam, squid strips, green crabs, mole crabs (sand fleas), and live minnies will be eagerly inhaled. We’ve enjoyed limit-upon-limit successes without the muss and fuss via the likes of the Fishbites E-Z Clam, the Fish ‘n Strips Crab, Clam and Shrimp, and also the Berkley Gulp! 3 and 4-inch Shrimp, 2-inch Peeler Crab, and 3-inch Squid.
Those seeking the biggest sea bass invariably opt to jig, the metal being in the form of an AVA-007, 17 or 27, the Run Off Lures sand eel (silver or bronze), or a good ol’ fashioned bucktail sweetened with a squid strip or 3 or 4-inch Gulp! Grub.